Guide: How to set up a Mac server

Setting up a Mac server can seem like a daunting challenge, but once you understand the basics, it goes pretty quickly. so… here we go

The first thing you’ll need is a Mac laptop or desktop- any device that has access to the Apple App Store, and the capability to download apps.

Go to the App Store, and download The Blockheads Server app. it looks like this:

Launch the app, and you’ll find a screen similar to this one:

I already have a server named “Trader Joe’s” up and running, so we’ll create a new one. See the ‘new’ button at the bottom on the left? click that, and you’ll get this:

I’m going to create a 1X (normal) world with vanilla rules. Click ‘OK’:

All new worlds default to the name “World” on port 15151. Trader Joe’s is already running on port 15151, and we need a better name. Lets call it “Joe’s Hangout” and use port 15152.This is done by simply changing the ‘Name’ and ‘Port’ inputs at the top/center.

All thats left to do here is click ‘Start’. The world name will go from white to yellow, and the status (very top center) will go from ‘Stopped’ to ‘Paused, waiting for players’. Thats all we need to accomplish here for now. in the next section, ill explain how to set up port forwarding, which allows others to connect to your new server.


Port Forwarding.

SO, the next step is to set up port forwarding. This will enable your router to correctly send incoming information to the server, and allow other users to connect. Again, it seems daunting, until you know how to do it.

You’ll need to access your router settings. How you go about this depends on the makeand modelof your router.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll be taken to your router setting home screen. And, it will ask you to log in with a name and password. To further complicate matters, you’ll need admin privileges. I can’t help you here, except to say that if nobody has changed the default admin account, you can probably Google your router brand to find out what the default settings are.

This is a great place for a disclaimer: If you don’t own the router, or pay the internet bill, you should probably seek the permission of the person who does before changing then router settings.

Second disclaimer: If you have a dynamic IP address (the IP changes periodically through a range of addresses), you’ll need a service such as to set up port forwarding. My IP is static, and I’ve not mastered noir. Perhaps someone such as Bibliophile could explain it?

So, we’ve accessed the router settings, and logged on to the admin account. Things get a little dicey from here, as no two router brands seem to be set up exactly the same, though most are pretty similar. The router screen should have a 'Basic" tab, and an ‘Advanced’ tab. go to the advanced tab, and look for 'Advanced Settings" (or something along those lines. We’re looking for the tab labeled “port forwarding”:

Now, look for the button marked ‘Add Service’, ‘Add new Service’, ‘Add Custom Service’, etc… It should prompt you for the following information:

Service name: You can use most anything here. I normally make it the same as the server name.
Service type: UDP. Always. so far as i know, it won’t work otherwise
External starting and ending port: The port you’re going to use. For our example it’s 15152
You’ll notice I have the ‘Use same port range for internal port’ box checked, so it fills in automatically as i type in the fields above.

Internal IP Address: Every device connected to the router has a unique internal IP address. Use the address for the device that has the Blockhead Server App installed. (in my case, my Macbook Air)

Click OK, Apply, or whatever your router uses.

Thats it. You should get an overview of what you just typed in:

The only thing left is to see if you can connect to the server, as well as someone else outside your home (to make sure forwarding is set up correctly)

I’ve only recently figured out all this for myself, but if you have questions, i’ll do my best.


Noip host redirect attempt:

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Now I’m confused. I have version 1.6.0, and Apple doesn’t have an upgrade option, but I don’t have the rules/vanilla option, just world size of 1x, 4x, or 16x. Can you check and tell me what version of the Blockheads Server you’re running?

I threw away my Blockheads Server app and downloaded it again. Same thing as before.

I then downloaded it on a different mac. Same thing. Any idea how you have a version with the rules option?

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Dave forgot to upload the Server to the Mac App store. You can get the latest version here:

Note: if you’re having problems connecting to a server you’ve set up previously, double-check your router settings. I lost power yesterday for about three minutes. When it came back, I couldn’t connect to my server. The problem turned out to be that the router had changed the internal IP of my MacBook Air. A quick edit of the port forwarding settings had things right.

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I recommend getting an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) for any computer you have, but especially if it’s acting as a server. Most wil have a USB plug that can communicate with your computer and tell it to shut down automatically. On my Mac and UPS, it’ll start the shut down process as soon as 1 of these three conditions are met:
No power for 5 minutes
5 minutes or less remaining power in the battery
Battery is at 20% reserve power

Also get one for your modem and router set up, so they only lose power during an extended power outage. Gone are days of only surge protectors.

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Hi, I have set up a mac server and can connect locally to it, but I can’t connect remotely. I have set up port forwarding as described in this post and my computers firewall is off but port checking still says port 15151 is closed.

Any help anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated!

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@lcgilberg Did you make sure to use the ip of your device, and not your service provider ip? That’s the biggest mistake I made when first set mine up. You don’t want to use the ip that you enter into your browser, the ip you use will be on your network settings page.

Another possibility might be the ip you enter into the blockheads app. Did you set up with no-ip or are you using your ip.

If you can show us some screenshots of the port forwarding settings you are using with any personal info blurred out it might be easier for us to help. Same with the information you enter into the blockheads app

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I agree with Oreo. The only time I had local access, but not remote, the problem was that port forwarding wasnt set up right. The ‘internal IP address’ was my biggest stumbling block.

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If anyone’s not able to access their server from the Internet, make sure port forwarding is enabled, and set. I got stopped at enabled for about 2 years.


can we please not clutter up a how-to guide with a discussion unrelated to the OP?

@milla @asyc

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Off-topic posts removed


Very cool guide, thanks for sharing. If only I had a Mac :slightly_frowning_face:

Any (reasonable) way to do this on Windows?

Define reasonable.

It is possible to do this on Windows by setting up a Mac VM, setting up port forwarding from your VM to your host and then the standard forwarding required at the router, but it is a major pain, and tends to be fairly unstable in the tests I did a few months ago… I ended up buying an older Mac Mini mainly to run my mac servers because it was such a pain.


THAT= unreasonable

Bib has Mac servers? :thinking:

Yes. At least he has the capability for Mac servers. Has had for some time. Helped me out with a problem in Blokonomy once upon a time…

Thanks for this guide, Joe!
I just bought a MacBook Air a couple weeks ago.
Use this guide to help test how setting up a server works.

But does hosting a server from your Mac take a lot of…Idk computer terms…processing power, memory, RAM?
Would having one server with a lot of people on affect my computer?
Or having a bunch of servers with just one or two people on?

Not that I’ve noticed. But one caveat for the MacBook air: it has to be open and running for the server to be available. It can be in sleep mode though.

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